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Re: Balancing out your practice

Well said, Rick. I'm gonna take this home.
On Oct 18, 2012, at 9:50 AM, Rick Walker wrote:

> When I grew up, my father always used to warn me,  "be careful of being 
> a jack of all trades and
> a master of none."      Of course, then he'd screw my head up by talking 
> about how much he liked
> the concept of being a 'Rennaisance Man',
> which he really was in a lot of ways.
> So, over the years, as I began to be dedicated to becoming a 
> multi-instrumentalist,  I, too have struggled
> with the same thoughts that you have expressed, Steve.
> I'd like to weigh in with a different perspective, however.
> If we are merely talking about 'chops',  then there is a definite risk 
> of letting one's 'chops' diminish
> on one instrument because you are suddenly, putting more attention into 
> another one that has
> a really different skill set.    I learned that here while back, because 
> I had played trumpet so much for a
> couple of years and then because I've been fascinated by piano and 
> strings instruments  this last year
> that I had neglected my trumpet.   Of course,  when I went back to it, I 
> had back slid considerably with my
> embouchre.    I found though, that when I re-fell in love with my 
> trumpet that it has just taken a few weeks
> to start to build my chops back..........not entirely like learning how 
> to ride a bike.
> But more importantly than that, is the fact that when we let ourselves 
> follow our 'musical bliss' as it were,
> we also constantly increase our over all understanding of how music 
> works.
> Chops are important but I find that how one uses those chops says almost 
> everything about their
> musicianship.    This is why, increasingly,  I have concentrated on 
> teaching my students about 'music' as opposed
> to , specifically,   drums or percussion or bass or piano or what have 
> you.
> This increasing understanding of and maturation of 'musicality' is a 
> gigantic part of music.
> I was listening to Stevie Ray Vaughn on a radio program the other day.  
> I never listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn,  but in this case,  he was playing 
> a solo and he used three pitches and finally four pitches in an entire 
> part of a solo.
> It was wicked good.  I was just marvelling at how entirely 'musical' he 
> was and how satisfying those three pitches were
> in this particular solo.
> Well, any hack beginning blues lead guitarist can play three or four 
> note solos and you never get the same feeling from it.
> The difference is entirely 'musical maturity'.
> So,  I would encourage you to just keep playing what your heart tells 
> you to play, whether it is the instrument
> you have the most mastery on or one that is brand new to you.    If you 
> are constantly growing musically, it will reflect
> on your playing.
> Sure,  people who concentrate on one instrument drag less gear to a gig 
> for the same pay as you make, lugging
> six instruments.     This is a spurious framing, however, I believe.
> What's important is what makes you happiest.    I've personally known 
> musicians who make ten times as much money as I do who are miserable 
> (and some who've made that much money who are really happy , too).
> What's important is following what feeds your aesthetic soul.
> I know you , Steve,   you are meant to play a lot of 
> instruments.......it's in your blood.
> From an old fart who's been doing it a very, very long time,  I 
> encourage you to not trip out on it too much.
> Just play your song, brother!
> affectionately,   Rick